BUBBLE BATH (HABFÜRDÖ) – 1980, 69 min. Hungarian director György Kovásznai’s wildly idiosyncratic animated musical is one of the most indescribably strange, personal, and totally irresistible cartoon features ever made. A walking ball of anxieties, shop window decorator Zsolt bursts into the apartment of his fiancée’s best friend Anni paralyzed with fear at his impending marriage. Zsolt is like a stoned hippie alleycat, or an Eastern European Frank Zappa in a tux; medical student Anni a more curvaceous and leggy post-modern Betty Boop – and both unsure of their attraction to each other, of the choices they’ve made, of what life has in store for them. A truly insane mash-up of styles, from 1920s Art Deco to 1960s Psychedelia to late 1970s louche Roxy Music decadence, BUBBLE BATH is incredibly restless and creative, the bohemian love-child of Bill Plympton’s off-kilter individualism and Ralph Bakshi’s wonderfully warped, rubbery visual style. In other words: it’s not quite like any animated film you’ve ever seen before. Sadly, this was director and animator Kovásznai’s only feature film — he died of leukemia in 1983. BUBBLE BATH has been beautifully restored by the National Film Institute in Hungary for its first-ever U.S. release by Deaf Crocodile. In Hungarian with English subtitles.
“A gallopingly neurotic modernist-psychedelic musical from 1979 that bubbles and pulsates with anxieties about modernity … With characters and settings constantly warping, tilting and transmogrifying, BUBBLE BATH is visually something special; like Van Gogh, Fleischer Studios, Robert Crumb, YELLOW SUBMARINE and the abstract-thought section of Pixar’s INSIDE OUT smooshed into a great lysergic battenberg cake.” – Phil Hoad, The Guardian.